AJ Odudu has said she feels “completely liberated” after being able to show more vulnerable sides of her personality and be her “unapologetic self” while on Strictly Come Dancing.
The TV presenter, 33, is paired with professional partner Kai Widdrington on the dance competition and said being taught how to express her emotions through dance has been “life-changing”.
Odudu also addressed the romance rumours between the two and feels it is “lovely” that people are so invested in their relationship.
She said: “I do definitely feel empowered by the show, I’m completely liberated.
“There are so many little things as well in television that I think subconsciously I’ve not even realised about myself, even the confidence to go on TV in front of millions of people without a face of make-up on, that’s been quite a thing.
“Showing different sides of my personality, being my complete unapologetic self, has been quite liberating because, I guess, it’s not something that I do naturally, like go on TV and cry, I’m always usually bubbly and bouncy.
“So, just to show myself, and be accepted for me being myself, has been really amazing.”
She added: “Then, obviously, Kai teaching me how to use my body and express my emotions through dance has been literally life-changing.”
Throughout the series, there has been speculation if Odudu and Widdrington’s relationship went beyond the dancefloor due to their steamy routines.
“I think it’s so lovely that everyone is so invested in our relationship,” Odudu said.
“I think this goes to show how we are clearly getting on really well. But, obviously, we just really want everyone to focus on what we’re doing on the dancefloor.”
Widdrington agreed and feels if it looks like more than friendship while they perform, then they are doing their job correctly because that is “how the dance is supposed to be”.
Odudu joked she could use her new moves if she saw an attractive man on the dancefloor, adding: “I think dancing is so joyous and so beautiful, and I can’t wait to show off these dance moves at Christmas, and birthdays, weddings. I’m ready to clear dancefloors across the UK.”
The pair are “excited” to have gotten this far in the competition but admitted they will miss their time together and with the whole Strictly cast once the show is over, but said they will remain close.
Widdrington added: “I think after spending this long with someone, of course, you have to stay in contact, it would be weird unless you really hated each other – which we don’t – we get on like a house on fire, so of course we’re going to see each other.”
Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.